Adoption Travel
adoption comeunity

Adoption Shops & Adoption Services


Adoption Book Reviews

An Unique Family Vacation - Volunteering in Haiti

By Carol Weisman, author of Raising Charitable Children

Traveling for a volunteer vacations can benefit the whole family, and help others at the same time. Missouri Supreme Court Justice Michael Wolff and his family enjoyed one vacation volunteering in Haiti, sleeping in a orphanage and assisting Mother Teresa's charity.

When Missouri Supreme Court Justice Michael Wolff was running for state attorney general about 15 years ago, he told a campaign worker that he and his wife, Pat, were taking their eleven- and fourteen-year-old sons on a two-week volunteering trip to Haiti. The campaign worker replied, "Why don't you just have them eat ground glass?"

Indeed, why on earth would two well-to-do, mentally competent parents who had never done volunteer work like this before - and had never even been to Haiti themselves - decide to take their children on such a vacation? Explains Pat, "The kids were turning into whining, entitled Americans. They were wondering why they didn't have a big-screen TV, and what was up with living in the same house all year. And besides, we'd already been to Disney World."

So after one too many times of feeding their kids the old line "You know, there are starving children in other parts of the world," Pat and Mike finally decided to take their kids to see the starving children.

For two weeks, the Wolffs lived at a boys' orphanage in Port-au-Prince, paying rent for the privilege. Some days, they volunteered at Mother Teresa's Home for Dying Children, where they fed, bathed, and played with the young patients. Other days, they visited Mother Teresa's Home for Dying Adults, where they simply spent time being good company to those who lived there, engaging in friendly conversation and providing back rubs. The family ate rice and beans twice a day, cooked by the boys living in the orphanage.

Pat and Mike realized that a number of worst-case scenarios could happen to them on their trip: a serious bus accident, robbery, rape, drowning at sea. Reflecting back n the experience today, Pat says, "We had lots of anxiety, but we prepared the best we could. And we decided to live by our hopes rather than our fears."

Instead of packing suntan oil and beach books for their summer vacation, the Wolffs brought bottles of albumin, saline drip and empty blood bags - in case Pat, a pediatrician, needed to perform an emergency blood transfusion from one family member to another due to a serious accident. Pat and Mike also purchased evacuation insurance before the trip.

The Wolffs witnessed things in Haiti they'd never seen before, like raw-sewage canals and dead bodies in the streets. But they also saw something even more shocking: smiling faces. Says Andy, the older son, "What really stood out was that there were a lot of people who were happy. This trip taught me that people who don't have a lot of things can be equally as happy as people who do."

Even though Pat worked as a pediatrician back home, her medical expertise wasn't needed in Haiti - not for any family emergency, as it turned out, and not for the terminally ill people they met there, either. The family's work was mainly to offer comfort and solace.

The boys often carried out the smallest tasks - fetching rags and passing out medicine - but younger son Ben say he never remembers feeling unimportant or helpless there. "I knew that I was just contributing a little bit," he says today, "but that I was also doing what I could."

Says Pat, "After the trip, the kids understood what we meant when we'd tell them we didn't wan to waste money on this or that. We may have money, but let's not throw it away on stupid stuff because we could use it better, in Haiti or elsewhere."

Carol Weisman is a pediatric social worker and internationally recognized expert on philanthropy, funraising and non-profit governance. This article is excerpted with permission from her book Raising Charitable Children, which provides many helpful ideas for families who wish to contribute to a better society.

Adoption Travel
Adoption Travel

Traveling with Children
Adoption Airline Travel
Birth Country Travel
Air Travel with Baby
Hotel Discount Advice
Travel Insurance Guide
Adoption Ambassadors
Volunteer Travel Vacation
Jet Lag
Motion Sickness
Traveling Alone
Volunteer Family Vacation
Meeting Your Child
Baby Care Overseas
Visit Chinese Orphanages
Visit Vietnam Orphanages
Traveling to Hong Kong

Related Articles on Comeunity:
Travel Health
Adoption Health

Best Books on Adopting
Adoption Medical Clinics
Adoption Groups by Country

Adoption Books
Original Book Reviews
Author Interviews

Adoption Directory: Shops & Services


Book Reviews | Author Interviews

| How to Adopt | Adoption Travel | Adoption Lists | Talking About Adoption (The Triad) |
| Special Needs Adoption | Adoption Health | Travel Health | Adoption Medical Clinics |
| Real Moms Newsletter | Oh Wonderful Boys | Adoption Poetry |
| Infertility & the Adoption Journey | Humanitarian Aid |

This website and articles are copyright.

COMEUNITY Comeunity Home Adoption Adoption Travel